Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Testimony of the Scope of Mormon Theology, the Atonement and Valuing Differences

I bore a very short testimony a couple of years ago and said the following:

1) I am the oldest son in my family, and I’ve never wanted nor related to the concept of an elder brother – hence, I have a really hard time “feeling” the power of that analogy for Jesus. I don’t know how to feel about an older brother, and I just don’t care much about it intellectually.

2) I had a wonderful, caring, humble, loving father – hence, I have no problem “feeling” the power of that title for Jesus’ God. I know how it feels to have a “heavenly father”, but I don’t care much about it intellectually.

3) I LOVE the intellectual / philosophical / theological concept of an atonement – but I have had to work out my own intellectual understanding of it. I love how I think about the Atonement, and I care deeply about it intellectually.

4) I’m glad our theology and my ward allows people who think and feel differently to be accepted regardless of those differences – and I’m glad I have the chance to learn things I normally wouldn’t think or feel on my own from people who think and feel differently than I do.

That’s why I go to church – to connect with people I really do love and learn from them in some way. It works most weeks, even on days when I hear lots of things with which I disagree intellectually (and that last situation occurs quite frequently). I’ve learned not to care as much as I used to care – and I’ve learned to accept that other people think and feel in certain ways because it works for them.

I want them to accept that I follow what works for me, so I need to accept that they will follow what works for them.

“We love him, because he first loved us.”

At church, I try really hard to be the “he” in that construct – and the proof of whether or not I’m succeeding is when I disagree the most.

I acknowledge that it’s easier for me than for lots of other people (for example, gay members) – but all I have is my own life and expereinces, so it’s up to me to the best I can within those experiences.

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